Rock lacrosse splits previous two contests

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The Rock (4-4, 3-4 in the PSAC) played Lock Haven (2-3, 2-3 in the PSAC) this past Saturday and dropped the contest to snap a two-game winning streak. Lock Haven won, 19-12, in a game where Slippery Rock held the lead twice.

The game looked like it was going to be a blowout, as three minutes in, The Rock went down 3-0 early in the game. The Rock looked as if they didn’t have an answer for Bald Eagles’ offense and those first three goals came in a span of only a little over 90 seconds. The Green and White were able to answer back though with two goals from Molly Buettner and a goal from Emily Benham over the next seven minutes.

The Rock took the lead for the first time after more goals from Benham and Buettner, which gave The Rock a 5-4 lead. In the game, Slippery Rock didn’t lead by more than one goal in the game. Slippery Rock surrendered the lead after only about two minutes when Lock Haven’s Caitlin Morrow scored back-to-back goals.

Slippery Rock took the lead back after goals from Buettner and Charleigh Rondeau. Lock Haven went on a 5-0 run for the final five minutes of action in the first half and that put The Rock behind for what would turn out to be the rest of the game. At the half, Slippery Rock trailed 11-7.

Things turned out to be more of the same in the second half, as Lock Haven scored two quick goals to go up 13-7. Brooke Wisniewski scored for Slippery Rock, but, after her goal, Lock Haven netted two more quickly. The Green and White went on a 3-0 run with a goal from Buettner and two from Rondeau.

However, Lock Haven matched that run with a 3-0 run of their own. The Rock scored one more goal from Camryn Whipple, but at that point the game was decided, and The Rock’s two game streak was snapped.

The Rock returned to play Tuesday at home against IUP (3-3, 3-2 in the PSAC) and the game came down to the very end. Slippery Rock played IUP earlier in the season and they dropped that game 12-8. This time around, though, the game was much different. The Crimson Hawks struck first with a goal from Kayte Zeiler seven minutes into the game. Slippery Rock went on a 3-0 run over the next seven minutes with goals from Jamie DiCarlo, Buettner and Katie Dlugosz.

“It was a really good team effort and a lot people stepped up and made plays, but, as always, there’s stuff to improve upon, but it was great to see them stick together and it was awesome to see them put together 60 minutes,” head coach Kelsey Van Alstyne said.

IUP answered with goals from Emily Elliott and Chantal Jiminez to tie up the game at three apiece. Buettner, Dlugosz and DiCarlo then helped The Rock go on another 3-0 run to bring their lead to 6-3. The three of them along with Benham have been lethal this season and helped The Rock offense become very dangerous. In the final three minutes of the half though, The Rock allowed two goals to make the score 6-5 at the half.

IUP opened the half with a goal to tie the game up but Rondeau swiftly gave the lead back to the green and white 19 seconds later. Buettner scored again to put the Rock up by two, but the score wouldn’t hold very long. And, before Slippery Rock knew it, the Crimson Hawks put up four unanswered and looked as if they had control of the game. Benham scored two goals for Slippery Rock to put them in the position to win the game and the Rock delivered.

“We did such a good job in the first half stopping them defensively and they’re a very good team, so it’s okay to give up a few goals,” Van Alstyne said. “They responded really well to the timeouts and everything, and it’s a game of momentum and runs and we just kept battling.”

With 90 seconds, The Rock had possession and went on attack, but a turnover meant that they had to make one final stop and Slippery Rock came through in crunch time and gave themselves an opportunity to win the game.

With only 13.7 seconds left, Rondeau scored the go-ahead goal and in dramatic fashion The Rock earned a walk-off win. The goal was Rondeau’s tenth of the season and she has been a key part of The Rock offense this season. With the win, The Rock got back to .500 and are now 3-4 in conference play. The team was down four players due to COVID-19 protocols and Van Alstyne feels that this showed what her team is made of.

“It was so much fun, it was incredible to have the ball with a minute and a half left and not be able to capitalize and then have to make another stop, but not only did we make that stop, we were able to transition and score the goal to win the game,” Van Alstyne said. “That’s what sports are all about, moments like that.”

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